• Short Summary

    THIS FILM SHOWS SOMETHING OF HOW PEOPLE LIVE IN THE MARSH LANDS OF SOUTHERN IRAQ.?

  • Description

    THIS FILM SHOWS SOMETHING OF HOW PEOPLE LIVE IN THE MARSH LANDS OF SOUTHERN IRAQ. THE MARSHES COVER ABOUT 6,000 SQUARE MILES (15,000 SQUARE KILOMETRES) ALONG THE BANKS OF THE RIVERS TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES NEAR WHERE THEY FLOW TOGETHER AND JOIN JUST ABOVE BASRA.

    IN THE HEART OF THE PERMANENT MARSHLAND, THE PEOPLE LIVE ON LITTLE ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS. THEY MAKE THESE BY BUILDING A STOCKADE OF REEDS, AND CEMENTED WITH MUD. ON THIS THEY BUILD THEIR HOUSES, STARTING WITH ARCHES OF LONG REEDS BOUND TOGETHER, AND COVERING THEM WITH ONE OR MORE REED MATS FOR A ROOF.

    REEDS AND WATER BUFFALOES ARE THE MAINSTAY OF THEIR ECONOMY, EVERY FAMILY HAS AT LEAST ONE BUFFALO, MOST HAVE SIX TO EIGHT, SOME A DOZEN OR MORE. THEY PROVIDE MILK AND BUTTER, AND THE DUNG IS USED FOR FUEL.

    MUCH OF THE WORKING LIVES OF THE MEN AND BOYS IS SPENT CUTTING REEDS; THEY GATHER YOUNG SHOOTS FOR FODDER FOR THE BUFFALOES AND LONGER ONES FOR HOUSEBUILDING AND FOR POLES FOR PUNTING THEIR CANOES. THE WOMEN WEAVE REED MATS FOR FURNISHING THE HOUSES, AND ALSO FOR SALE.

    RICE CAN BE GROWN IN SOME MARSHLAND AREAS, WHERE THE RIVERS IN FLOOD IN THE SPRING BRING DOWN FRESH SILT; BUT WHEAT AND BARLEY HAVE TO BE BOUGHT FROM TRADERS.

    TRANSPORT IS ENTIRELY BY CANOE. THESE ARE MADE OF WOOD, IMPORTED FROM NORTHERN IRAQ OR ABROAD, AND COVERED WITH PITCH, WHICH GIVES THEM A BLACK SHINING FINISH. THE CANOES ARE SOMETIMES PADDLED, BUT OFTEN PUNTED ALONG WITH REED POLES.

    ULTIMATELY, ALL THE LAND BELONGS TO THE STATE, BUT IN PRACTICE, IN THE MARSHLAND TRIBAL AREAS, IT IS THE SHEIKS WHO FULFIL THE ROLE OF LANDOWNERS AND ADMINISTER LOCAL JUSTICE. LIFE IN THE MARSHES HAS FOLLOWED THE SAME PATTERN FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, BUT MAY NOT GO ON UNCHANGED MUCH LONGER. THE GOVERNMENT HAS PLANS TO DRAIN THE MARSHES AND TURN THEM INTO FARM LAND; AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO LEAVE MARSH VILLAGES FOR THE TOWNS IN SEARCH OF EDUCATION AND JOB.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA7XZFN0D2D0AL20G3OJN4FURQF
    Media URN:
    VLVA7XZFN0D2D0AL20G3OJN4FURQF
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    21/12/1967
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:05:23:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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